MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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While Apple has been rumored by several sources to be planning to deploy a quad-core processor as part of what was presumed to be a new "A6" system-on-a-chip in the iPad 3, that assumption was called into question earlier this month with the appearance of a logic board photo showing an "A5X" package instead. Some have suggested that the implication of the package being a beefed-up A5 would limit it to a dual-core processor.

The idea of the package being a smaller upgrade is supported by Apple referring to the application processor as S5L8945X, a part number jump of only five from the S5L8940X processor found in the A5. The A4 chip launched in the original iPad carried a processor designated S5L8930X.

a5x_a6_ios_5_1_code.jpg



But now an examination of the iOS 5.1 beta code by 9to5Mac has revealed yet another application processor, S5L8950X, appearing alongside the S5L8945X that is apparently inside the A5X. This new application processor is presumed to be part of Apple's actual A6 system-on-a-chip.
Deep in the iOS 5.1 betas (as shown below) sits references to two next-generation iOS device chips: the previously discussed S5L8945X and this brand-new S5L8950X. While nobody has found this 50X (A6) chip in the code until now, we can report that both next-generation processors entered the iOS code simultaneously. This would seem to indicate that Apple has been working on two next-generation chips.
The report notes that mentions for both processors entered the iOS beta code simultaneously, but it is unclear exactly what Apple's plans are for the two processors. It is possible that they represented a "Plan A/Plan B" scenario, or they could potentially be targeted for two different devices.

Article Link: iOS 5.1 Beta Reveals Evidence of Simultaneous Development on A5X and A6 Chips
 

gpat

macrumors 65816
Mar 1, 2011
1,016
1,345
Italy
I don't think there will be both chips in the end. They will choose only the best for their devices overall, using both would be ineffective for both fragmentation and mass economy strategy.
 

nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,502
314
Middle Earth
Of course.

The iPad isn't the only product that uses the Apple chips. Apple has employed a two chip strategy for a while.

Apple TV, iPod Touch = former generation
iPad - newest generation
 

HarryKeogh

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2008
601
799
Retina Display is enough to get everyone excited about the iPad. I think they'll save the quad core for the iPad 4 or iPhone 5.
 

dagamer34

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2007
1,359
101
Houston, TX
Of course.

The iPad isn't the only product that uses the Apple chips. Apple has employed a two chip strategy for a while.

Apple TV, iPod Touch = former generation
iPad - newest generation

I'd say it's more Apple updating the iPod Touch rather erratically, with the 2nd and 4th generation models not getting a new SoC at the lowest price point for some reason.

I wouldn't speculate on the update frequency of the Apple TV, considering there's only been two models.
 

Moonjumper

macrumors 68030
Jun 20, 2009
2,525
2,414
Lincoln, UK
My guess:

The Retina iPad uses the A6.

A 7.8" iPad with a 1024 x 768 display uses the A5X.

The sizes help differentiate the 2 models.
 

Rokeneer

macrumors regular
Sep 27, 2011
119
0
They can use the dual core A5X to beef up the low-end iPad 2 to become iPad 2 (S or X?) that they will sell along side the A6 iPad 3. They might do similar with iPhone 4S(X?) (beef it up to A5X) when the iPhone 5 (A6) is released. Plus the iPod touch idea mentioned as well as other possibilities.
 

Virtualball

macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2006
399
8
Didn't Apple recently salt their files with a bunch of part numbers to thwart this kind of bit peeking?

They filled a certain file with things like iPad10,3 which is ridiculous and totally unbelievable. That doesn't fall in line with a believable SoC model number, but who knows? They're probably real and being tested, but never put one past Apple to go this in depth to thwart leaks.
 

nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,502
314
Middle Earth
Retina Display is enough to get everyone excited about the iPad. I think they'll save the quad core for the iPad 4 or iPhone 5.

Apple's not going to make people wait until next year to get a Quad Core iPad. Especially given that Mobile World Congress is going on now with a bunch of announcements of Quad Core phones.

Next year will be the Apple processor based off the A15 core and PowerVR Rogue graphics. It'll be a barn burner.

I'd say it's more Apple updating the iPod Touch rather erratically, with the 2nd and 4th generation models not getting a new SoC at the lowest price point for some reason.

I wouldn't speculate on the update frequency of the Apple TV, considering there's only been two models.

Apple TV is drying up in the channel. iPod touch is too thin to squeeze in today's 40nm A5. It only makes sense to branch the A5 into a 28nm variant for devices like the ATV and IPT.
 

iSengKin

macrumors member
Jan 29, 2012
55
0
my personal hunch...

A6 processor(hopefully quad-core) for the new upcoming iPad 3 n iPhone 5...

A5X for Apple TV n the rumored smaller iPad with 1024x768 resolution... ^_^
 

APlotdevice

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2011
3,120
3,790
Up until now the iPad was only running at a slightly greater resolution than the iPhone/iPod touch. Perhaps the iPad 3 will run a different SoC than the next generation iPhone to take advantage of its considerably higher pixel count.
 

RalfTheDog

macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2010
1,560
396
Lagrange Point
I like the idea of forking the iPad and iPhone processors. The iPhone has less room for battery and heat dissipation. You can pack more clock into an iPad case.
 

borgqueenx

macrumors 65816
Jul 16, 2010
1,357
258
we already saw the board of the ipad 3. Everyone knows it can change....but its highly unlikely. i say there's a like 95% chance the ipad 3 will have the A5X.
but....we do not know what a5x means yet....maybe its the A15 architecture. that would be better then just a quad core improvement :D
 

d0vr

macrumors 6502a
Feb 24, 2011
603
1
*rocks quietly in corner with fingers crossed* iPad mini.. iPad mini... iPad mini...
 

nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,502
314
Middle Earth
we already saw the board of the ipad 3. Everyone knows it can change....but its highly unlikely. i say there's a like 95% chance the ipad 3 will have the A5X.
but....we do not know what a5x means yet....maybe its the A15 architecture. that would be better then just a quad core improvement :D

That's if you believe that board meant anything. I don't. There's no reason to offer a dual core iPad 3. The A15 is not ready.
 

borgqueenx

macrumors 65816
Jul 16, 2010
1,357
258
A5X for the "new" iPad 2
A6 for the "new" iPad 3

This would account for the supposed price hike in the iPad 3

"new ipad 2" ?
It stays the ipad 2 is my guess. why would they improve an old product. this has also never happened before?

----------

*rocks quietly in corner with fingers crossed* iPad mini.. iPad mini... iPad mini...

id totally hope for a ipad mini, just to have a chance that that mini will have the a5x and then i can have a full 10inch with the A6 ;D
 

DESNOS

macrumors 6502
Aug 24, 2011
374
1
my personal hunch...

A6 processor(hopefully quad-core) for the new upcoming iPad 3 n iPhone 5...

A5X for Apple TV n the rumored smaller iPad with 1024x768 resolution... ^_^

This was my hunch. Small bump to the iPad 2 with the A5X, and in the iPad 3, the A6. There have been no A6 logic board leaks though, so either they haven't started manufacturing the A6, or it's still just for internal testing... It's possible that with the Retina display, LTE, and improved camera, they had to find a way to keep costs down, so they made a small compromise on the CPU.
 
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